Museum Of The Oregon Territory

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Mary Dickinson on October 9, 2003

We arrived at the museum a little late for a tour that was already in progress so we went upstairs where the exhibits are and joined the tour. Ron Peterson, historian and researcher, was the tour guide. He was dressed in the period clothes of an 1850 pioneer and played the roll perfectly. He knew and loved the Indians and pioneers and all the artifacts proving their life styles, habits and strife in dealing with the way things were in the Oregon Territory.

He was storytelling Indian style as we approached. A group of old ladies from a local convalescent home had a few stories to tell from their Indian ancestors. He explained Indian basket making, jewelry, stone tools and other Indian artifacts pointing to examples in the glass front display cases. The piece de resistance was a 2500 year old petroglyph found in the area.

We then moved on to farm tools used by the pioneers and a complete pharmacy over 100 years old. Looking out the window we could see the Willamette Falls. He knew everything about them. Today two paper mills occupy the buildings and he told us the importance of each building and how energy is tapped from the falls. He also knew what every broken down foundation, deserted generator or converted mechanism was once used for right back to when Dr. John McLoughlin once tapped that water power for his mills over one hundred and fifty years ago.

A covered wagon filled with useful items necessary for crossing the Oregon Trail is on display and a scale model shows how a rope lowered the wagons down a steep slope on the Barlow Road, within the last few miles of the long trip across the country and right near Oregon City. Ron knew where the slope was located and some horror stories about trying to get down that slope without using the rope.

For details on how the homesteaders had to file their claims, how much land they were entitled to, where the land is located and what they had to do to qualify as a homesteader this is the place to visit. A research library is available at specified times.

The museum is opened 10-4 weekdays and 1-5 weekends. To get to the The Museum Of The Oregon Territory take exit 9 south or exit 8 north from I-205 and follow Rt. 99E to Turnwater Dr. Call 503-655-5574 for more information. There is a small admission charge.

Museum of the Oregon Territory
211 Turnwater Drive
Portland, Oregon, 97045
(503) 655-5574

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